Who Keeps Glassdoor Scores?

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The Challenge: Glassdoor is the Yelp of the workplace, and the reviews your company receives really matter. Salesforce.com is arguably the No. 1 large company to work for in the world. Their Glassdoor approval score is 4.4/5, and 89 percent would recommend the company to a friend. Marc Benioff, the CEO, has an approval rating of 98 percent. During the five years I spent as CPO at ATB Financial, our score was consistently 4.4, and CEO Dave Mowat had a 99 percent approval rating, the highest of all Glassdoor companies with more than 5,000 employees in the world. That’s a WOW!

Salesforce.com analyzed both employee turnover and recruitment success. Here’s what they found out: The great people who left, went to companies with a higher Glassdoor score, and they attracted top people from companies with scores lower than Salesforce. It was that clear, and subsequently they pay very close attention to their Glassdoor status.  

The Solution: When I ask a lot of people what their Glassdoor score is, many still say “huh?” Too many people are unfamiliar or  ambivalent. Here’s an article covering companies with over 5,000 employees who have the worst Glassdoor scores in 2019. The average overall score (among almost 50,000 organizations) is 3.4/5. Crappy companies are in the 2.0’s. If you read this statement about your company or one that you might be interested in joining, what would you think?: “There is a lack of stability and ongoing headcount cuts makes for bunch of unease. Constantly getting new managers as everyone leaves or gets let go so creates a constant starting from scratch. Very negative management style seems to be the normal. Plant closures has begun and maybe to continue so is gloomy as there is a sense of defeat and don’t [sic] get feeling that there is proper plan.” This is a direct quote from one of the sucky companies. I could have picked much worse.

What we can do about it?

  1. If you’re a leader, have a game plan to get the score over 3.4 (unless you like being average). The best organizations strive to stay over 4.0. Be aware of the comments on Glassdoor. Don’t overreact to one off “haters,” but the trend is your friend or not! Take proactive action.
  2. If you’re a team member, be aware of what people are saying about your company and be prepared to honestly post about your workplace. Insist that the company pays attention to the comments. It’s an important listening post!   
  3. Go to your Glassdoor score now and find out. 

Think Big, Start Small, Act Now,


One Millennial View: A great score on Glassdoor is a nice badge of honor. While it’s imperfect, and could be potentially infiltrated by bots, it’s one important data source. Since every organization is invited and joining the Glassdoor party, you might as well strive to be a highly rated guest (and skipping the invite isn’t a good look either).

– Garrett

Edited and published by Garrett Rubis


Hot Topic Friday: March, 22 Newsletter

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Happy Friday everyone! I wanted to share with you some HOT TOPICS that have caught my attention this week. 

Hot Topic 1: Goldman Sachs CEO reveals the valuable job skill he now struggles to find. 

What it’s About:

CEO David Solomon talks about what Goldman is looking for in talent that may surprise you. The following quotes are instructive:

“’I’ll tell you one that we’re finding less and less inside the firm that I think is an important skill set… Is an ability to write,’” – Solomon in response to a question from Yahoo Finance.

“’The other thing I’d point to that’s so important is there is a real emphasis when people are interviewing around academics and I.Q. I think it’s way overweighted… There should be equal emphasis on E.Q. and how you interact with people, how you relate to people, and how you connect with people.’”

Why it’s important:

Goldman arguably hires to the “best and brightest.” They are totally a service business based on applying top talent. When Solomon says they’re giving more attention to writing skills and EQ, it reminds us that these are important areas even bankers should personally invest in.

Hot Topic 2: The 8-Year-Old Homeless Refugee Chess Champion.

What it’s about: 

NYT opinion columnist Kristof reports on a story of how we can overcome circumstance to excel. Tapping into our passion and aptitude within a supportive environment is a winning combination.

“In a homeless shelter in Manhattan, an 8-year-old boy is walking to his room, carrying an awkward load in his arms, unfazed by screams from a troubled resident. The boy is a Nigerian refugee with an uncertain future, but he is beaming. He can’t stop grinning because the awkward load is a huge trophy, almost as big as he is…This homeless third grader has just won his category at the New York State chess championship… What’s even more extraordinary is that Tani, as he is known, learned chess only a bit more than a year ago. His play has skyrocketed month by month, and he now has seven trophies by his bed in the homeless shelter.”

Why it’s important:

Much of the news last week focused on wealthy families buying access to great universities, either illegally through bribes or legally through donations. This put a bad taste in our mouths. We need Tani stories, and to fight for the benefit that comes from the struggle. Tani wasn’t “rescued” by so called “bulldozer” parents. He was given the opportunity and HE did it. Whether at home or work, let’s not rob people we care for of the bumps. They build character and ultimately confidence… But not when we rush in to take away the pain associated with learning. 

Topic 3: The Right Way to Follow Your Passion.

What it’s about:

There is lots of discussion about the importance of being passionate as a vital and distinguishing characteristic. Yet, there is a difference between harmonious and obsessive passion. Passion should not be valued as “good” by default. NYT contributor Brad Stulberg says

“Put simply: Passion can be a gift or a curse… The good news is that the form it takes is largely up to you… Jeff Skilling, of Enron, and Elizabeth Holmes, of Theranos, oversaw two of the biggest corporate frauds in recent American history. Before the scandal-ridden downfalls of their companies, both were widely celebrated for their passion and obsessive drive, something Ms. Holmes said was a most important asset. Alex Rodriguez and Lance Armstrong, two of the most notorious cheaters in sports, were also two of the most passionate competitors… What all of these individuals have in common is that their passions went awry because of an incessant focus on results, results, results. When the results weren’t meeting their exceedingly high expectations, they turned to unethical behavior to close the gap.”

Why it’s important:

There is an argument for results being everything. And yes, leaders must get results, but NOT without the guidance of values that advance humankind. Stulberg notes: “Obsessive passion — fueled by a longing for external results, recognition and rewards — trouble lies ahead. That’s because people typically crave more. More money. More fame. More medals. More followers.” When we focus with meaning, deep purpose and have harmonious passion, it often leads to great results, but not at the cost of our decency.

And finally! We’d like to introduce you to our mascot, Cecil. 

Here’s Cecil’s Bleat of the Week: 

“The greatest life-lie of all is to not live here and now.” Excerpt from
The Courage to Be Disliked by Ichiro Kishimi & Fumitake Koga.

Bye for now!

– Lorne Rubis

Incase you missed it!

Monday’s Lead In podcast.

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Imagine if Amazon Competed in the Higher Education Marketplace?

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The Challenge: You and I need continuous formal learning, and postsecondary education as it exists may not be able to give us what we want. Are you personally preparing for a lifelong investment in new learning, skill upgrades, career pivots and more? One of the hot areas at SXSW was the explosive new learning services and models that will compete or partner with traditional post secondary institutions. Companies like General Assembly, 2U, and BoxSpring Entertainment are disrupting education and tapping into this vast market. Getting a degree is a ticket, but it doesn’t mean that one has the skills employers require. The price tag students are currently paying (for example, $400k for an undergraduate degree at Harvard), is mind blowing and raising big “value flags.” And getting out of college with an undergraduate, or even a postgraduate degree, is just the first stage of a continual lifelong personal learning investment. Students are becoming more demanding and want to know how to do what they need to do… And they want to be able to learn in the way that is best for them, NOT for the provider. Hence the market is ripe for major disruption. As noted in a recent Inc. magazine article, “Compare Amazon’s ability to deliver what you want, how you want it, and when you want it, to that of the average college or university. Or even to the growing number of online universities, hybrid universities… And especially to the ‘traditional’ institutions that offer online learning options. Amazon would crush those folks.”

Story: Let’s look at what these learning disruptors are offering.

BoxSpring – Disrupt & Construct: At Boxspring we believe that learning is a privilege and can be joyful. We listen, we ask, we share, we challenge. We set our purpose and we advance.We do this openly, in collaboration and with respect. Are you ready? Feeling boxed in by old styles of training? Spring into action with a new way to learn.”

2U: We are in the midst of a transformational era in higher education. Technology is reshaping how we work and fundamentally redefining what it means to have a career, forcing us all to become lifelong learners.

In the face of this new reality, leaders across academia are confronting a clear challenge: how to fully embrace the digital era while preserving the best of what has defined their institution, often for centuries.”

I’m just giving a couple of examples for flavor. How exciting. I’m signing up to participate in the disruptive world of postsecondary learning! How about you?

What we can do about it:

  1. It does not matter what business, career, market, or work world you live in, prepare to personally invest EVERY year in more formal learning. This will be a material item in your monthly budget. If your employer invests in you that’s great and they should. But do not wait around.
  2. Familiarize yourself with the many new offerings in learning. Your traditional colleges better be digital and treat you as the customer to get your attention.
  3. If you are a traditional learning provider, it’s time to disrupt yourself.

Think big, start small, act now,

– Lorne

One Millennial View: I found a ton of value in physically attending a four-year post secondary educational institution, but that’s largely due to what you learn outside of the classroom. Dorm life, Greek life, and figuring out how to navigate around a campus, all while living around 30,000 other students isn’t really something you can learn online. A diploma is proof that you can juggle a schedule, meet deadlines, and likely survive in the work world. But we’ll see if this newest generation attending middle-school at the moment will be influenced and persuaded by disruptive, digital secondary education options. One huge setback for digital learning is the social aspect? College is also really FUN. Perhaps BoxSpring or 2U should offer WeWork spaces for strictly college aged kids to go digitally learn, and also meet new people/join social clubs/get these kids out of their parents’ house. 

– Garrett

Blog 976

Edited and published by Garrett Rubis


The Ally Blog Causes Sparks to Fly!

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The problem: “Black workers at UPS facility in Ohio faced decades of racial hostility, lawsuit says.” That’s a March, 2019 USA Today headline. “Survey reveals Canada still has a ways to go on workplace discrimination.” That quote is from the Globe and Mail, in case our Canadian audience thinks they have the high ground. Hey, let’s just admit we still have a lot of work to do on the complex challenges related to inclusion and equality. Even as I’m writing this blog, a CNN panel is noting that celebrity democratic candidate, Beto O’Rourke, ticked off a lot of women with his comment about his “thanking his for wife feeding the children at home.” So for the eye rollers out there who are tired of the topic, we DO need to continue the conversation.

Story: As I noted in my previous blog, we are all at different stages on the inclusion learning path relative to what being an Ally is. Garrett and I got some strong reactions relative to the topic. Two of our readers seem to be on different bends in the road. Reader 1: “I’m aware of the stories of people being mistreated and undervalued, but it would be a flat out lie if I’ve said I’ve ever seen it practiced or celebrated first hand. I’m lucky I haven’t been part of it, but it would be disingenuous for me to pretend I’ve seen it.” Reader 2: “To be a true ally, you have to be able to step out of your experience. You cannot say that just because you haven’t experienced it that it doesn’t exist or is a non-issue.”

What we can do about it?

I asked ATB Financial’s Rachel Wade, Director of Equity and Inclusion for her insight . She shares her wise recommendations:

  1. “By being open to feedback and criticism of how we’ve held others up or failed to do so. It’s easy to become defensive. Try to pause and take in the new perspective before rejecting it – even if it stings a little. If you have the urge to respond with something that sounds like, ‘Well, not all <<insert demographic>> people are like that…’ You probably need to reflect a little longer on the sentiment behind the feedback. You are likely being given this feedback because you belong to a group that enjoys the downstream effects of systemic privilege. This is your time to acknowledge this new information and be a true ally.
  2. While allies can stand up for others they should not presume to to be able to take on the first-person voice of groups they don’t belong to first-hand. Don’t look for a pat on the back for being a good ally and make room for disadvantaged groups to speak for themselves.
  3. We can belong to both privileged and disadvantaged groups at the same time – this is where the intersectionality of of our lived experience and diversity becomes layered. In some ways we may be in need of allies and in some ways we may be able to be strong allies. Being disadvantaged in one way doesn’t mean you opt out of understanding the disadvantages of other lived experiences.”

Each of us is the “other” at sometime in our lives. It’s important to remind ourselves. Thank you Rachel.

Think Big, Start Small, Act Now!


One Millennial View: Rachel’s insight says it best. I’m a person who likes to fix things, but I have to accept that there is no immediate remedy that’ll satisfy everyone. At least if there’s more awareness, then maybe it can reduce the anguish.

– Garrett

Blog 975

Edited and published by Garrett Rubis


A Googler Perspective on What Being an ‘Ally’ Means

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Advancing the value of inclusion in organizations is the focus of a few key workshops and events at  SXSW 2019.  And as part of the ever evolving inclusion conversation, more attention is being paid to helping ALL of us better understand and apply the concept of “allyship.” Is that phrase being used more in your work community? It is in mine, and yet do we really understand what it means and when it is actually well practiced? I’d like to share what I personally learned about “allyship” from the SXSW session I attended.

Story: Our “allyship” facilitator was Kyle Alicurrently a Google executive, and a black man who grew up in the suburbs of Chicago. He remarked that when he left university, he had a self-acclaimed, well-developed perspective on all that was “blackness.” Or so he thought. Turns out, his first teaching job in the center of Baltimore altered that view when one of the very first things a student asked him was, “Mr. Ali why do you look so much like Carlton (from the Fresh Prince of Bel Air)?”


We all translate through an interpretive narrative based on our own unique experience and lenses. So becoming an ally for others is not something we can simply assume or self-proclaim. When we sit in an advantaged or privileged position, it is not sufficient to intellectually declare “allyship.” Although most of us who care about inclusion certainly have the best intentions, I believe there’s a lot more work to do in understanding what being an ally really means. The working definition of allyship presented by Googler Ali is as follows: “Acting for justice through the lens of one’s own membership in an advantaged group.”  I know from listening to the workshop discussion, attended by people obviously enlightened and deeply interested in the topic, that most of us have a lot more work to do on OURSELVES first before those outside our more privileged positions embrace us as genuine allies. That’s a humbling and important base to start from.

What we can do about this:  

According to Kyle Ali, with the help of Google’s research and progress on the topic, we will move forward as we:

  1. Become more self-aware of being a member in an advantaged group.
  2. Better understand what justice means for others outside this membership.
  3. Remember that the first three letters of allyship are “ALL.” Inclusion and allyship are easier concepts to wish for than really do. We must start with the hard work of better understanding ourselves to fully join the ALL.

Think big, start small, act now,


One Millennial View: I think many Millennials, myself included, might respond with a big ole “duh, I know” when the topic of inclusion is discussed. I simply have never been in a professional situation where someone has been excluded for just “being” anything. That said, this isn’t a subject from a clickbait Buzzfeed article, it’s from a stage at SXSW with a lot of invested, interested participants. If we’ve already been told that we’re on the “allyship” train, that’s great, but it doesn’t hurt to stay learning and self-accountable to keep things on track.

– Garrett

Edited and published by Garrett Rubis


So You Want to be a Transformational Leader, Eh? Part II

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Problem: Lots of people are so called transformation experts, yet have never intentionally led a real transformation. The academic models they espouse are often well founded and usually based on solid research. However, to actually lead in a transformative way, I believe you have to have felt and experienced the messiness of a major shift. In the previous blog, I shared three basic streams in framing up any big or more narrow transformation, moving from a current state to a more desired state. I also promised to outline four levers that integrate within the three work streams. Here they are:

  1. Lever the Learning and Unlearning Platform:

Have you seen this popular video of someone trying to ride a bike differently?

It’s hard. So when we want people to act differently, we obviously can’t just announce it. And this is NOT simply the organization’s learning group’s responsibility. It is both formal and informal. If you hear “what’s the training for this?” and stop there, you’re likely hooped.

  1. Lever the Recognition and Reward System:

You want to start highlighting and sharing stories about champions ASAP. The message is, “this is an example of what we want in the transformative state!” Celebrate people who have applied the new learning successfully. Acknowledge the process and results. Make it fun. And positively respond to screw ups too. Make it safe to try, fail and try again.

  1. Lever the Communication System:

Regardless of the size of the transformation or group, you have a process of telling people what’s going on. Hijack that communication process relative to the transformation. Remember the medium is the message. People want to know how the transformation is working well AND struggling. Be open and transparent. And do NOT rely on email. It has to be omnichannel. Everyone, all the time, everywhere. Personal emotional connections and great storytelling is vital.

  1. Lever the People Engagement System:

Involve ALL people impacted in some personal way. Think of any transformative process as a culture change. If it is technical, it must be more than IT that leads it. If it is customer obsession oriented, it must be more than sales or marketing. In the end, all people want to say and feel they actively and willingly participated.

If this was helpful, here’s what you can do:

  1. Be fearless and get messy. It is never a nice, neat, straight line. Be prepared to be tenacious and relentless. It takes grit.
  2. Apply the three streams, integrating the four levers, and you will bake your own unique, transformative cake!! Relish the process and be brave!

Think Big, Start Small, Act Now!!


One Millennial View: Now that the framework has been laid out, it would be interesting to hear how implementing the three elements and four levers into action goes for anyone running a transformation in their organization. 

– Garrett

Blog 973

Edited and published by Garrett Rubis